7 Reasons Why Tour Operators Need A Digital Marketing Strategy in 2019

Marketing strategy on a desk

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I think you’ll agree with me when I say:

In today’s world, digital marketing is a necessity.

However, too many choices can be overwhelming when it comes to tour operators choosing how to market online.

Well, it turns out, the best way to combat overwhelm is to have a clear digital marketing strategy that can be realistically managed on a day-to-day basis.

Here Are 7 Reasons Why Tour Operators Need A Digital Marketing Strategy:

#1 You’re Confused About What Steps To Take Next

I’ve spoken with tour operators all over the world and one of the problems I always hear about is that their confused about exactly what steps they should take next with their marketing.

Travel companies that have not documented their strategy may have a general sense of what they want to do online and what their tactics are, but are unlikely to have properly defined some of the essential elements.

For example, you may know that you want to get more visits to your website, but can you say how many?

Or you may want to generate more bookings, but can you pinpoint by what percentage, or through which channels?

If you don’t have SMART goals it’s harder to know exactly what you need to do next, and you’re left feeling confused about the next steps you should take.

SMART goals for tourism businesses

#2 Everyone Isn’t On Board – And On The Same Page.

Ensuring you have support for your digital marketing strategy within your company can be difficult.

However, it’s much easier to get everyone on board and the same page when you have a documented plan that spells out exactly what you want to accomplish, how you’re going to measure progress, and how it fits in with your other marketing priorities.

Suddenly you have a digital strategy that can be promoted and defended, rather than just trying the hottest new trend and getting zero results.

#3 You’re Not Optimizing Your Website To Stay Ahead

Every travel company with a website will have analytics, but many tour operators don’t have the time to review and act on the data.

It’s important to benchmark your activity and continually measure what’s working and what isn’t, so you can make the necessary changes.

A good marketing strategy will include testing new ideas to ensure that you’re constantly learning and optimizing your website to stay ahead of the competition.

#4 You Don’t Have A Powerful Online Value Proposition That Makes People Click “Book Now”

A clearly defined online customer value proposition tailored to your different target customer personas (e.g. families traveling with kids, adventure travel couple, solo travelers, etc.) will help you attract, engage, and convert more lookers into bookers.

Now, you might be asking:

What exactly is a value proposition?

It’s the primary reason a prospect should buy from you. Customers not only want to know “What’s in it for me?” but “Why buy from you?”

If you had just 10 words to explain why people should buy from you instead of the competition, what would you say?

For example, let’s look at G Adventures who have honed their offer for small group adventure tours targeting 20 and 30-something adventure travelers.

If they didn’t know that their customers were budget-savvy travelers who love adventure and enjoy traveling in small groups, they would get their product offer and pitch completely wrong.

G Adventures - Target market example

#5 You’re Wasting Money And Time On Advertising

Without a marketing strategy in place, you’re likely wasting money and time on your advertising.

Let’s take Facebook Ads targeting as an example.

Many travel companies will invest in paid ads to generate new leads or retarget their website visitors, but sometimes they don’t use the right core audiences (e.g. location, demographics, interests, etc.) to reach their target market.

So they end up wasting money on time and don’t get the most “bang for their buck”.

#6 You Won’t Know Who Your Ideal Customer Is Or Your Target Market Size

Customer demand for your type of tours and activities may be underestimated if you haven’t researched who your ideal customer is and the size of your target market.

The more you know about your ideal customer and target market, the higher your visitor to lead and lead to booking conversion rates will be.

There are great tools available from the main digital platforms where you can learn more about your customers and target market.

You can use Google’s own Keyword Planner Tool to conduct keyword research and figure out exactly what to call your products so your potential customers find your website on Google and not your competitors.

You can also use Facebook’s Audience Insights tool to learn more about the people that matter to your business – your customers. The tool is designed to help you learn about your target audience, including information about geography, demographics, purchase behavior and more.

Facebook Audience Insights - Tourism marketing example

#7 You Don’t Have Measurable Goals

Far too often, tour operators settle for “sell more next year than last year” and “don’t go broke” as metrics for gauging their success.

Part of creating a strategy means you setting measurable goals that create realistic targets for you and your team to work towards.

SMART goals increase performance far more than nebulous “just don’t fail” hopes.

Over To You

With a well thought out strategy, you can avoid each of these problems.

By going through the process of creating your digital marketing strategy, it forces you to formulate and articulate your thinking about your customers, your products, and how you bring those two things together to sell more tours.

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